When “No Regrets” Evolves on You

 

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At 16, “No Regrets” meant never having to say sorry for your actions.  It meant shirking away from the consequences of the things you did and said with almost sociopathic glee.

“No regrets,” was said as you made out with the guy a grade above you, knowing full-well he had a girlfriend.  No Regrets meant zooming down a residential street at 60 miles per hour because one of the bumps in the road sent your clunker flying.  No Regrets meant being jackasses at the local mall and being loud at the movies and terrorizing the local playground with your antics.  “No regrets,” was unspokingly acknowledged as you verbally bashed your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend behind her back, spoke viciously about a former friend, and dove headfirst into gossip.

In your 20s, “No Regrets” was a call to arms.  It was a reminder that you were already a fifth, a quarter, perhaps even less than that into your life, and you needed to do the things you loved, and now.

No Regrets came in the form of planning that European vacation, even if it meant breaking the bank.  No Regrets meant agreeing to go skydiving, even if the idea of everything that could go wrong sent you into a panic.  No Regrets was said as you submitted your portfolio to a place that was guaranteed to turn you down.  You whispered, “No regrets,” to yourself as you finally admitted how truly, desperately, and madly in love you were with the person in front of you. No Regrets struck a passionate chord against the status quo.  No Regrets became less of an excuse and more of a precautionary element.

But as you toed away from the adolescent you, as you toed away from your 20s and into the blur of Rest of Adulthood, No Regrets took on new form.  While you still found yourself returning back to its previous definitions – during times when you were defensive about your actions or when the existential panic of it all set in – you also found that it took on this beautiful, frustrating, higher resonance.

No Regrets meant understanding that everything happens for a reason, even if you don’t believe in the Higher Power.  Every decision and mishap.  Every shitty thing you did or had done to you.  No Regrets meant having faith that everything in your past – even the things part of you would trade anything in the world to have erased – lead you to exactly where you needed to be.

No Regrets took the form of countless causes and effects, countless actions and reactions, to shape the world around you in dizzyingly complex ways.  No Regrets meant finding peace with a past that might’ve been less than kind, or with behaviors that you were less than proud of.  You whispered, “No regrets,” as you resolved to embrace every single aspect of life.

And No Regrets came in the form of pressing forward, knowing you’d stride, slip, get lost, and get banged up along the way.  Because No Regrets also came in the form of having faith that every present-day action is also part of that same order.  That your evolution is forever ongoing.  Because you’re not 16, you’re not 25, but you still carry that same fire.  And it has not been tamed; it’s simply been shaped into something a little more productive and a little more wise.

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Insomnia Thoughts

1. Why does the one meat item that would always stand between me and vegetarianism come from one of the smartest, sweetest creatures on the planet?  I need to eat bacon that came purely from asshole pigs, if only to assuage my guilt.

2. “In a world of Kim Kardashians, be a Princess Diana.” Where’s the dude version of this?  In a world of Kanye Wests, be a Robert Downey Jr?  In a world of Koch Brothers, be Elon Musk?  In a world of Trumps, be Bernie Sanders?

3. 2001 was 15 years ago and that’s not okay.

4. Sometimes I look at my cats and go, “Wow, you’re an animal. And you just hang out with me. You’re this little creature with fur and I interact with you and you acknowledge my existence.”  And then I look at people and go, “Wow, you’re a person.  And you’re not me.  You’re a person with a face and I interact with you and you acknowledge my existence.”  And I wonder why social interactions don’t come easily for me.

5. Also: Existence. Yikes.

6. I’ve decided packaging in food isn’t getting smaller. We’re just steadily becoming giants.

7. Sometimes I wonder where I’d be if people actually listened to me from junior high onwards, when I said numbers get jumbled in my head like a type of numbers dyslexia. No, that’s cool, discalculia, you can totally be a thing long after I gave up on math and never looked back.  I mean, let’s be real: I still would’ve gotten a humanities degree, but maybe I would be able to actually do mental math.

8. On a related note, I’m still waiting for that moment when I start missing high school. Someone actually shoot me if I start romanticizing my teenage years.

9. People need to chill about people younger than them saying they feel “so old”.  There’s always going to be someone older who could invalidate your experience.  Perhaps people don’t recognize that the “so old” statement is essentially saying, “Holy crap: life is finite and I am mortal, and I keep inching forward with the ever-mocking presence of death by my side — and I am no longer blissfully unaware that someday I will die.  Because — shit — someday I will die, and every day past birth is a day closer to that reality.”  Or, y’know, something to that effect.

10. Just FYI to the powers that be that control sleeping: When I said I wish there were more hours in the day, I didn’t mean, “Dip into the reserve set aside for sleep.” I don’t become more productive as a result.  I just end up making blog posts.  Jackasses.

Bonus: Is it possible to Netflix & Chill with sleep?  Yo sleep, won’t you come over to my place tonight.  I did swipe right on your Tinder profile.